Friday, February 16, 2007


Guilt is an interesting emotion, one that seems to affect some more than others. While many of us have this emotion instilled in us by our mothers, that was never the case with myself. My guilt seems to be self induced and has grown exponentially since becoming a mother myself.

Even though I know that I do my best, and give every waking moment and some sleeping ones to the well being and happiness of my husband and children, I often feel guilty that the house is not clean enough, that the kids don't get enough one on one fun time with me, and that I always seem to busy to spend quality time with my husband.

The other night as I was preparing to go to a pampered chef show, I felt so guilty! Why was I taking time to do something I wanted to do, when the house was not clean, the children had not been fed dinner (although I did cook it), that I could be spending that time with my husband, etc. And that is when I began to wonder; Do all wives and mothers feel guilt when doing things for themselves? For example, I would happily spend hundreds of dollars buying new clothes for the kids, and my husband, but if I am told to get something for myself it is like pulling teeth. I will fight leaving the house, coming up with all kinds of excuses from stating money is tight, to the laundry needs to be folded, and then when finally forced out of the house (as I was last month) I will wander the mall aimlessly for hours, finding plenty for the kids, and then guiltily putting it back remembering I am supposed to be shopping for myself, and when I do find something I like, I put it back on the shelf telling myself it is to expensive to finally end up at home with just one thing, the cheapest thing I could find.

As I read what my friends write on Pafo I begin to think that maybe this does not affect all wives and mothers, but a specific demographic of wives and mothers. The stay at home mom or housewife in particular.

I think the guilt is not justified, we make our families lives exponentially richer in many ways; we breastfeed longer, make home cooked meals, coordinate family dinners, and quality weekend and evening time with our families since we do all of the errands, bill paying, shopping, cleaning, etc. while our husbands are working, our older children are at school, and our little ones are napping, or strapped into a fleet of Car carts (well we try anyways) it gives us hours a night and whole days on the weekends to be together as a family. Divorce rates are lower, our children are happier and more well adjusted, and are less likely to experiment with drugs, or alcohol or have premarital sex; all because of the choice we made to put our families first. The decision we made with our spouses before marriage that once children arrived we would put them first. But rather on the fact that there is one thing we do not do, and that is to contribute financially to the household. America is a very materialistic nation, ever heard of keeping up with the Joneses? That is an American truth, and what has put so many members of our society in debt, and has laden so many of us with this guilt.

This quilt that my little demographic feels is due to this lack of financial contribution, and that is just wrong. We need to learn not to feel guilty to spend money on ourselves, or to take a break. We should not feel guilty when our husbands have to iron their own shirts once in a blue moon, or our children don't get as many toys as the neighbors. To pass on the helping of guilt that is served up when ever dinner is ordered out, or gasp, even worse made from a box. The stress from the guilt makes usfat, gives us anxiety, and shortens our lives.

In short, we need to remember to take care of ourselves as well as our families. Which is exactly why I am sitting in a nice warm ski condo today reading a magazine and playing on the computer, instead of worrying about what must be done tomorrow when I return to real life.

Don't forget to click on the orange!